Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine who was complaining about a mutual acquaintance of ours who is Japanese. My friend thought it was extremely rude that our new Japanese friend, I'll call her "Michiko," had no concept of personal space, would stand very close to her during a conversation and was very touchy feely - for example, she likes to grab your hand or hug you when she is happy or excited. Now, I myself do not like to be touched and am very American in my need for keeping a distance between me and another person, but I did not take Michiko's behavior as rude because I know it was a case of so called "American manners" versus "Japanese manners." In many Asian countries, it is very commonplace for female friends to hold hands while walking or talking. It is a sign of affection. And there is no real concept of what we consider our "personal space."
So I was surprised to hear that my friend had sharply taken our Japanese friend to task and in the process had hurt her feelings deeply. Now there is a reserve to Michiko's manner that was not there before and I fear our relationship is damaged. When I told my friend I thought she had been rude and unkind in how she approached the matter, she disagreed. She thought it was important for someone to explain to her what was proper manners in the country she now lived in. So maybe she was right and she wasn't being unkind. But when manners clash due to culture, some amount of respect needs to be considered on both parts. And perhaps a little tolerance is wise.